Approximately six years ago I quit my full time job and took the decision to become self employed. After an exploratory journey, I launched my own successful community magazine and haven’t been employed in what some regard as a proper job ever since. I hope I can work through the rest of my life without needing to again!
For me, taking the decision to become self employed was possibly one of the best decisions I ever made and I believe it has contributed and continues to contribute to a life of feeling mentally and emotionally well in immensely significant ways.
So, how could being self employed support and nurture your mental and emotional wellbeing?
1. Self Employment Allows You To Be True To Your Needs
While working for myself I’ve fallen ill, experienced loss, and juggled a number of personal challenges and testing times. In really difficult times, due to the nature of my work, I’ve been able to take time off and nurture myself in the way that I need to without needing to tell any of my clients. Deadlines have still been met and customers expectations have been managed, yet unbeknown to them I may have decided on the spare of the moment to take a day to sleep, ground myself, support a friend or family member in need and so on. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, in the worse case I may need to send a few emails to reschedule a meeting, but not very often. In essence, if I need a mental health day, I take one. In my business, health comes first!
2. Self Employment Builds Self Esteem
The things I have accomplished through running my own business, have become some of the greatest achievements of my life. It is a lot of hard work, I’m not denying that. However, no bonus related pay or glowing appraisal can top the self esteem I’ve gained through seeing my own hard work pay off and deliver something of value to other businesses and individuals. I no longer need the approval of a line manager to confirm that my work has been worthwhile, or that I’ve done a good job. I see the results myself and know that even though I have received invaluable support, for which I am eternally grateful, the results have come from ME – I did it, I made it happen.
3. Self Employment Fuels A Life Of Passion
The other great joy about choosing to work for yourself, is that you can choose what that business is. I struggled when I was working for large corporations who were more interested in their bottom line than anything else. Through running my own business I have been able to create ethical business plans that I passionately believe add value to people’s lives. When I’m passionate about what I do, motivation is not a problem!! Although it doesn’t generate an enormous income yet, The Mind Sanctuary is the ultimate example of a business model driven by passion. And rather than wake up in the morning feeling totally unmotivated to go to work, I usually wake up early, itching to get moving!
Self Employment & Mental Health – The Good & The Bad
In this article I’ve mentioned just three of the many benefits I’ve experienced through working for myself, but there are downsides to self employment that anyone suffering from mental health issues needs to be particularly aware of.
Depending upon the nature of your work, you could experience increased isolation, so you need to plan for that, and make sure you get out and about and network.
It can be stressful, and naturally too much stress is not good for our mental health, so you need to ensure you look after yourself and don’t let your business take over your life.
Overall, being self employed is frought with challenges and obstacles, that need to be managed. Making sure you create a good support network, build a solid plan, and develop the skills required to make your business succeed are essential for making your life run as smoothly as possible.
Regardless of the challenges and obstacles and potential pitfalls, becoming self employed was definitely one of the best moves I EVER made. It’s allowed me to develop my own individual character and identity more easily and freely, and work towards creating a lifestyle that fulfils me. For me, the benefits make all of the challenges worthwhile.
If you would like to consider becoming self employed, there is a lot of support available to help you figure out what you can do and how to do it.
These FOUR types of resources have been the most helpful to me:
- Life coaching: To help me figure out just what I want to do with my life.
- Studying: To learn the skills required (you don’t have to know it all already!)
- Business coaching/mentoring: To figure out a sound business plan
- Networking: Online and offline to help build relationships and connect with like minded people
Some useful and inspiring links
Business Opportunities And Ideas – does what it says on the tin http://www.businessopportunitiesandideas.com/business-ideas/small-business-ideas
Business Link: FREE support and advice www.businesslink.gov.uk
WIRE – Women In Rural Enterprise https://www.wireuk.org/home.html
Womanzworld – The Ultimate Resource For Female Entrepreneurs http://womanzworld.com/
Location Independent – Live AND Work From Anywhere You Choose www.locationindependent.com